SaaS to Hit $5.1 Billion in 2007, CRM from SPSS and MarketBridge, ERP from Epicor, Sage CRM Recognized

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SaaS to Hit $5.1 Billion in 2007, CRM from SPSS and MarketBridge, ERP from Epicor, Sage CRM Recognized

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a continuation of the Alice Cooper and Jimmy Buffett iPod mix we tried out yesterday. Surprisingly it works well, if you stick to the Coop's early '70s albums, the Killer, School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies-era stuff, back when hard rock bands still knew how to write actual songs, and Buffett's mid-70s work, from Living and Dying in 3/4 Time to Son Of A Son Of A Sailor:

Worldwide total software revenue for software as a service (SaaS) within the enterprise software markets is projected to surpass $5.1 billion in 2007, a 21 percent increase from 2006 revenue, according to a recent study from Gartner.

The market is poised for strong growth through to 2011, when worldwide revenue will reach $11.5 billion, the tech research firm believes. And Gartner analysts say adoption of SaaS varies widely across software markets, contributing as little as 1 percent of total software revenue in some markets and over 75 percent in others.

In enterprise content management and search, SaaS adoption is in the range of 1 percent to 2 percent of total software spending. Within e-learning and Web conferencing, SaaS accounts for more than 60 percent and 70 percent of total market revenue.

"SaaS adoption is highest in applications that support simplified, common business processes or large, distributed virtual workforce teams," says Sharon Mertz, research director of Gartner. "Ease of use, rapid deployment, limited upfront investment in capital and staffing, plus a reduction in software management responsibility, all make SaaS a desirable alternative to many on-premises solutions, and they will continue to act as drivers of growth."

Gartner defines SaaS as software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. Gartner's forecast is focused on enterprise application software and does not include the infrastructure software markets.

Mertz says SaaS offerings are gaining market presence in emerging areas, such as compliance, risk management, office administration, sales and service automation, procurement optimization, and small integrated business systems, in which their multi-tenant networked architecture offers advantages such as speed of deployment, ease of use and embedded service management.

Although SaaS as a percentage of total software revenue is expected to grow in most markets, other major forces will also impact market development during the forecast period, acting as either proponents or deterrents to growth, she says.

According to Mertz, major on-premises software vendors are re-architecting their application stacks to service-oriented architectures. "Their customers will invest in migration for those processes that are complex or proprietary, but they also have an opportunity at this juncture to evaluate whether SaaS is an appropriate alternative for other aspects of their business.

"Small and medium-sized enterprises that have insufficient resources to convert their applications will also find SaaS an attractive 21st century solution to their legacy systems," she concludes.

MarketBridge, a vendor of sales and marketing products, and analytics software vendor SPSS have formed a partnership to develop and implement marketing and sales products combining the predictive analytics of SPSS with the marketing and sales expertise of MarketBridge.

MarketBridge will deliver the marketing and sales optimization side of things, customizing and installing customers' marketing analytics applications. SPSS will deliver the platform required to satisfy the complexity of a multi-channel marketing model.

Using SPSS' Predictive Enterprise architecture, MarketBridge has implemented a "collaborative CRM" program for a computer hardware vendor, allowing channel partners to "take advantage of the power of analytics and OEM data to build, deploy and measure campaigns," MarketBridge officials say.

The partnership is being driven by the development of joint products designed to solve several marketing and sales problems, including marketing mix optimization, improving B2B pipeline performance and using passive market research techniques to estimate the attitudinal effects of marketing activities.

"For the last 15 years, MarketBridge has been increasingly focused on using analytics," says Andy Hasselwander, Vice President of Marketing Sciences. "SPSS' suite of predictive analytics products is a natural fit, for both our internal project work and for deployment within client environments."

Patrick McCue, Vice President of Worldwide Alliances for SPSS, said embedding SPSS technology inside of MarketBridge's pay-for-performance execution programs "has allowed MarketBridge to attain peak levels of performance by using predictive analytics."

Epicor Software has been selected by the Abu Dhabi-based Al Mansoori Specialised Engineering for providing enterprise resource planning (ERP) services. Epicor officials said the ERP solution will be implemented by International Agencies Company Limited (Intercol), Epicor's channel partner for the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.

Al Mansoori sells oilfield services in the Middle East. Established in the UAE in 1977, the company at present has more than 900 employees working in 15 countries providing a variety of oilfield services, according to GulfNews.

"Over the years we have demonstrated proven expertise in providing ERP solutions to the oil and gas sector. The addition of Al Mansoori Specialised Engineering further expands our presence in the energy sector, a key economic segment in the region, particularly in the oil-rich GCC countries," Basil Daniels, regional sales director for Epicor, said.

"Epicor has over 350 installations in the region, which include many prominent companies from the energy sector. Al Mansoori has opted for the full ERP suite spanning financials, human resources and payroll, logistics (purchase, sales and inventory), project and services management, business intelligence and CRM," Daniels said.

Sage Software has announced that its Sage SalesLogix v7.2 and SageCRM v6 products have each received Info-Tech Research Group's Decision Diamond Award for CRM market leadership.

Info-Tech Research Group's Decision Diamond assessments put Sage SalesLogix as a Mid-Market CRM category leader and SageCRM as a Small Enterprise CRM category leader based on evaluation criteria including "ease-of-use, features, architecture, support and pricing, and vendor viability and strategy," Sage officials say.

Info-Tech Research Group's Decision Diamond seeks to rank vendors by the strength of their offering and their strategy for the enterprise. Company officials call it a "tribute to the contribution of exceptional vendors in the CRM market." The group cited intuitive interfaces and dashboards, codeless customizations and a full range of mobile and disconnected deployment options among strengths of the Sage CRM Solutions family.

"We are impressed with the investment Sage Software continues to make in its entire CRM product portfolio, and by the consolidation of their CRM products and strategy under a single general manager," noted Timothy Hickernell, Associate Senior Research Analyst with Info-Tech Research Group. "Sage Software's CRM strategy and positioning of the product clearly stands out among competitors."

In June Sage announced an enhanced organizational structure for its Global CRM Group, led by Joe Bergera, Executive Vice President and Global General Manager for Sage CRM Solutions. The new structure brings together global product management and technology strategy functions that overlay product delivery teams based in North America and Europe.

Sage officials say the new structure is designed to increase scale of operations, accelerate time-to-market and create strategic synergies across Sage CRM Solution product lines. The company claims over 300,000 users at over 8,500 companies for Sage SalesLogix.

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